Excess screen time is pretty much a given right now. We’re all doing the best we can to work from home and help our kids wade through their online learning assignments and connect with their friends and family via all our devices. But even once we’ve done all that, there are all the hours left in the day that used to be eaten up by playdates, sports and other activities. At least part of that time is probably now being spent on screens.
It would be great if some of that screen time could be less mind-numbing and more educational. But most of us also don’t have the mental bandwidth to curate such a list ourselves. Certainly the amount of free, educational videos and other resources out there right now blew past “helpful” and ran straight into “overwhelming” somewhere around the end of Isolation Week One. There is a website, though, that has already done the heavy lifting for us.
We’ve written before about the “The Kid Should See This”, but the website has never been more needed or more welcomed than in this exact moment in time. Parent Rion Nakaya started the site in 2011 and now, with the help of her 12- and 9-year old kids, she adds to it 10 to 15 new videos each week on topics ranging from science, technology and space to music, art and food.
The videos, Nakaya told Offspring, weren’t even necessarily created for children; although they are appropriate and interesting for kids, many of them therefore lack the over-the-top sound effects or dumbing-down of topics that can make educational videos grating to listen to:
As a kid, Nakaya remembered being awed by Jacques Cousteau specials and Mikhail Baryshnikov ballet performances on TV, programs not made for kids in particular. She’d watch a ton of videos for her job, and very often, she’d come across something that would leave her fascinated, inspired and eager to learn more. “The kid should see this,” she’d think, bookmarking the clip. She’d collect NASA videos, wild animal footage and old television scenes she used to love. Once, she showed her son a video of Ella Fitzgerald scat singing on stage in 1969, and he was scatting all week. She wished more kids could experience these internet gems, but most parents would never find them unless they were searching.
For example, this stop motion animation of the making of a LEGO pizza is wild and will be your kid’s new pandemic goal:
In an effort to further curate the already curated, here are other fun videos highlighted on the site that I liked, and which you and your kids might also enjoy:
Of course, you can also just leave your kids free to roam on the site, secure in the knowledge that all the content has been hand-picked by Nakaya and her kids to be age-appropriate, quirky, interesting and fun.